Clarkson martyrdom could mean surge for UKIP.

Could a TV presenter affect the outcome of the UK general election? It seems a ridiculous proposal until you consider that the TV presenter in question hosts the most widely watched factual programme in the world and that he is a darling of the party that is the most troublesome for the UK Conservatives. Whilst some celebs do throw their hat in the ring to endorse one party or another, Clarkson represents a set of values that chime with a disgruntled, apparently marginalised sector of the electorate.

Embed from Getty Images

After a series of indiscretions over the last four years that were barely concealed stunts to enhance his credentials as a poster boy for anti-political correctness sensibilities, Jeremy Clarkson has now been suspended following a ‘fracas’ with a producer. His stance on social issues and his willingness to sail close to the wind with borderline racist epithets and national stereotyping mean that he has become a political figure. Without actually declaring his own colours, he is known to be a friend or associate of David Cameron and others of the so-called Chipping Norton set, the village in Cameron’s consistency that appears to be a magnet for the wealthy and powerful. More especially, his rhetoric forms part of a narrative of nostalgia for UKIP supporters who oppose social change and the liberalism that has seemingly engulfed our society – open door immigration, gay marriage, softness of social justice, and for whom things were generally better twenty or thirty years ago. If you want to understand the difference between liberalism and libertarians, The Guardian embodies the former, Clarkson is a prime example of the latter.

Of course, Clarkson hasn’t written the UKIP manifesto, and he may well not embrace all their policies and stances, but the fact that he and the party are united in fan-base is borne out by the survey revealing him to be one of top celebrities for UKIP supporters. However his suspension by a BBC frequently branded as left-leaning, will appeal to voters whose adoption of UKIP is largely based on its status as a plucky upstart, a refreshing break from the establishment and sticking one up Westminster. This martyrdom of such a key figure who embodies a time before “you can’t say anything these days”, may prove the final straw to those believing their values and opinions are no longer permitted. There are only a limited number of ways you could express that frustration: calling up a radio phone-in show, buying some DVDs of Top Gear, and politically, voting UKIP. With some estimates suggesting that the party may come second in 100 seats, a handful more votes may just tip the scales.

From being merely very successful, Clarkson’s latest act of defiance matched to his already considerable influence, might be the first domino in a generational change for Britain.

(Also available at


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s